The Indian government recently introduced Toycathon 2021 to create awareness among school students about the rich cultural heritage of the country and promote local production.
The size of the toy market in India is about $1 billion, but 80 percent of toys are imported. To rectify this situation, Minister Narendra Modi’s gave clarion call last year for making India a hub of toy production.
So far, the call has met with enthusiasm, with Koppala forming India’s first toy manufacturing cluster and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Delhi fast emerging as major markets.
To further boost the trend, Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani launched a virtual toy hackathon ‘Toycathon 2021.’
Speaking at the launch of ‘Toycathon 2021’, Pokhriyal said that “The ToyCathon 2021 is being organised to create awareness among school students about the rich cultural heritage of our country.’
Irani also addressed the audience, “For the first time in the history of our country we shall see the participation of schools students along with students from higher educational institutions with regards to needs of the MSME industry in our country.”
Stating that it is a USD 100 billion international toy market in which India finds a space of our indigenous market to the value of USD 1.5 billion, the Union Minister said: “We are growing at a rate of 15 per cent per year but this growth should bear positive fruits and results for our industry. 80 per cent of toys are imported in India. Students and faculty members who would participate in the event can get reward up to Rs 50 lakhs. If we get some good idea, then commercial support would also be given by ministries of the government.”
Another aspect of the Toycathon is to conceptualise which will promote positive behaviour based on Indian value systems. Traditional Indian toys which were simpler compared to the fancier toys flooding the market now were on the verge of extinction. However, a new breed of Indian entrepreneurs and companies such as Varnam, Kreeda, Desiitoys, Toiing to name a few are fast reversing the trend, breathing new life into traditional Indian toys. The ToyCathon hopes to bolster this trend by encouraging students to design their own toys.
Abhay Jere, Chief Innovation Officer, Ministry of Education, who was also present at the launch said that “A few months back the Government of India launched Toy Story as an inter-ministerial mission to promote toy manufacturing, innovation and entrepreneurship in toys in the country. One of the key initiatives under this mission is Toycathon where we will reach out to youngsters, school students, faculties, start-ups, professionals and request them to conceptualise toys based on Indian those, culture, civilization, our heroes and some of the important events of our past.”
Six ministries including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Ministry of Commerce and Industry are participating in Toycathon.
In a meeting with senior ministers and officials to discuss ways to boost manufacturing and global imprint of Indian toys in August last year, the Prime Minister noted that toys can be an excellent medium to further the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ and exhorted that toys should reflect India’s value system and culturally established environment-friendly approach.